Nick Kyrgios received a warning for spitting and complained about the smell of marijuana, but he almost kept his cool to win a second-round win over Benjamin Bonzi at the US Open.
The Australian is one of the favorites for the title after his run to the Wimbledon final and his strong form on North American hard courts and admitted he is putting a lot of pressure on himself after the 7-6, 6-4, 4. -6, 6-4 win.
But in typical Kyrgyz fashion the match was not without its share of controversy.
The Wimbledon runner-up complained during his victory about the smell of marijuana, asking chair umpire Jaume Campistol to warn the crowd inside Louis Armstrong Stadium.
“Don’t you want to remind anyone not to or anything?” Kyrgios asked during a changeover in the second set.
Armstrong has concession stands along the court level above the court, and Campistol appeared to tell Kyrgios that the smell could be coming from their kitchens.
“Obviously, I’m not going to complain about food smells,” Kyrgios replied. “Obviously not.”
He added after the race: “I’m a heavy asthmatic. When I’m running side by side I’m short of breath, probably not something I want to be breathing between spots.”
Kyrgios received a warning for using profanity when the target of his anger was someone in his box who Kyrgios didn’t feel supported him enough, with video showing him spitting in their direction as he made his way to his chair.
“Oh no, that’s terrible behaviour, terrible, terrible behavior from Kyrgios,” said Eurosport commentator Matt Chilton. “I’m a big fan, but that was unsportsmanlike conduct. Sometimes he just overdoes it. That was caught on camera, he spat in the direction of his team and that was embarrassing.”
Kyrgios appeared shouting, “you’re sleeping bro! Go home if you’re not going to support me bro! You’re not a spectator!” to one of the members in his box, though it wasn’t immediately clear who he was targeting.
The noise of New York is a challenge for many players, and Kyrgios struggled not only with the chatter of fans but also with the roar of trains that can be heard outside the outdoor court.
“For someone who has a hard time focusing on my career, I try really hard to put my head down and play point by point, try to get out of certain situations. It’s hard because there are a lot of distractions,” Kyrgios said. “Obviously, there’s a lot of commotion going on as well. People are saying things. I have to be very careful what I say these days.”
Defying the controversy, Kyrgios was able to get through to the third round without dropping a set, although he found himself tested by Bonzi more than he bargained for.
“I feel like I’m really a pro right now”
“I wasn’t going out there expecting him not to be good or anything like that,” Kyrgios said of the Frenchman. “But his level was really, really good. I was really lucky to go four sets. I was 4-4 0-40 in the fourth, I played a very low percentage of tennis to get out of that game.
“It was one of those matches where you survive. I’m relatively happy with my form. It’s so stressful now because, every match I play, I expect to play so well.
“I have to probably lower the expectation of expecting to play like a Wimbledon final every time. I almost don’t know who I am anymore, to be honest, because I’m not me.
“I feel like I’m really a pro right now. I never thought the Wimbledon final would make me like this. I thought it would be the opposite, the other way around, almost a bit relaxed and a bit relaxed about it.”
The Australian next faces unseeded American JJ Wolf.
World No 1 Daniil Medvedev was handed a late change at Arthur Ashe Stadium after Serena Williams’ show but avoided any drama against France’s Arthur Rinderknech, coming through 6-2, 7-5, 6-3 to set up a clash with Wu Yibing. who became the first Chinese player to reach the third round at the US Open.